Dallas Downriver Club

Date: April 10-13, 2020  Sponsor: DDRC
River: Matagorda Island Trip Leader: Earl Atnip
Reach: N/A Phone: 972-882-0952
Difficulty: Class I but open water paddling 5-7 miles E-mail: Earl Atnip
Rendezvous: Charlie's Bait Camp, Seadrift , TX Required Skills: Open water paddling experience, proper protective gear, base camping
Campground: Matagorda Island/Army Hole

Paddle, Fish and Camp on Matagorda Island

Trip Description:

This is chance to visit a remote Texas coastal barrier island.  There is an old Army barracks, airport and, lighthouse on the island.  There is plenty fishing to be done in the bay backwaters, the beach is a ~2 mile walk.  We will camp in the old state park campground close to the docks and barracks.  I think there is still shade covers and tables.  There is no formal potable freshwater on the island so bring what you need.  I have on occasion been able to secure freshwater from rainwater ponds and filtering, but no assurance it will not be dry.   We will depart at noon to start our 1-2 hour paddle across the bay. 


Gear Requirements:

Boat capable open water crossings with potential of 1-2 waves and white caps.  Camp gear, deck compass, anchor or stakeout pole, fishing gear, headlamp, plenty of mosquito spray, water you need for the 3-4 days.  There is no water available on the island.  You will also need a public use permit to be on the island.



Bring what you need for the 3 nights and 4 days.  Also bring what you need to prepare any fish you catch.

Driving Directions:

Take I35E south to Waco.  Take US 77 south to Victoria.  Take 185 to Seadrift.  Keep on 185 past Seadrift then take right on LANE Road.  Take LANE Road to Charilie’s Bait camp.  There is a kayak launch to the right of the boat ramp.



* International Scale of River Difficulty

Class I: Easy. Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight, self-rescue is easy.

Class II: Novice. Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed.

Class III: Intermediate. Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and which can swamp an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. Scouting is advisable for inexperienced parties. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue is usually easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims.

Class IV: Advanced. Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn may be needed to initiate maneuvers, scout rapids, or rest. Rapids may require "must" moves above dangerous hazards. Scouting is necessary the first time down. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self-rescue difficult. Group assistance for rescue is often essential but requires practiced skills. A strong eskimo roll is highly recommended.

Class V: Expert. Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to above average endangerment. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is mandatory but often difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is difficult even for experts. A very reliable eskimo roll, proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential for survival.

Class VI: Extreme. One grade more difficult than Class V. These runs often exemplify the extremes of difficulty, unpredictability and danger. The consequences of errors are very severe and rescue may be impossible. For teams of experts only, at favorable water levels, after close personal inspection and taking all precautions. This class does not represent drops thought to be unrunnable, but may include rapids which are only occasionally run.


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Last updated December 26, 2019 12:02 PM